Rod Ward

Personal Review of "Solving the Jigsaw"
BCS Nursing Specialist Group Conference 23rd September 1999,
Cripps Postgraduate Centre, Northampton General Hospital

This conference was intended as an opportunity for front-line practitioners to reflect upon the effects of the Information for Health Strategy (1998), and consider how information has become meaningful in the support of practice and development of interprofessional partnerships.

The conference was opened by Carol Cooper (Chair of NSG) and delegates welcomed.

The Keynote paper was given by SEAN BRENNAN (NHSIA) who illustrated the governments current modernising theme with anecdotes from the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) Project. He emphasised "people" rather than "technology" issues including training and support, and said that exploration of what patients, professionals and managers want in any review of the Information for Health Strategy. he described "Islands of Information" amongst the advantages and disadvantages of paper records when care is delivered by split services, and possible models for the integration of primary and secondary care to create the Electronic Health Record (EHR).

Nick Blankley (Director of IM&T, Northampton HA) followed looking at the implications for regions and local implementation strategies, with particular emphasis on the Health Authority level. He cited a range of government initiatives and in particular the Health Improvement Programmes as providing the rationale for Information for Health.

Unfortunately Elaine Ballard was unable to attend to examine educational implications so her place was taken by Graham Wright (University of Surrey) who questioned whether Higher Education Institutions were ready to meet the education and training implications. He described several studies over the last few years showing how poor education for Health Information Management was and how the uptake of tools (e.g. CDs) produced had been poor.

Following coffee Dr John Bryden (Chair HIC) gave an overview of the BCS health groups, and encouraged everyone to join and participate in this vital field.

I followed with an overview of Information and Web Technologies related to nursing and health - a copy of my paper & powerpoint presentation is available here.

Norma Lane (Senior Nurse Manager NHS Direct) gave the next paper describing the South & West NHS Direct service and it's development with clinical and non-clinical call handlers and doctor support and described the variety of software and databases used in the service.

The afternoon session was chaired by Graham Wright and opened by Clare Burdis (Senior Nurse Information, Bassetlaw Hospital) who described the development and use of Integrated Clinical Pathways (ICP) in Acute care. She defined ICPs and outlined the context and government startegies underpinning their use. She described the "musts" for ICP development, the achievemenets and problems so far and concluded with a range of areas for further consideration.

David Lane (Clinical Informatics Development Nurse, Winchester & Eastleigh) described recent development to include community care within their trust record system in an attempt to work towards a seamless EPR.

The last presentation of the day was from Alison Young (PHCSG) who described developments in the community sector and the information challenges this presents. She demonstrated software developed by her company to meet these needs.

There were a variety of  discussions around the topics presented, and the general feeling seemed to be up beat about the next fews years, while still recognising the hurdles to be overcome in implementing Information for Health.

The full programme for the day is available here, and comments from some of the other delegates here.

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Page created: 25.9.99

Page last updated: 3.9.03